News Briefs

The U.S. bishops’ conference announced on Feb. 8 that it is launching a new National Catholic-Muslim Dialogue to be headed by Archbishop Blase Cupich of Chicago. • Just days before Pope Francis was scheduled to visit a prison in Ciudad Juárez, a brutal fight between rival factions on Feb. 11 at a different prison in northern Mexico resulted in the deaths of 52 inmates. • Meeting Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi of Iraq on Feb. 10, Pope Francis expressed his hope that Iraq and other war-torn countries would have leaders strong enough to bring divided peoples together. • Yu Zhengsheng, a member of China’s Politburo, told faith leaders on Feb. 4 that religious groups must promote Chinese culture and become more compatible with socialism. •The president of the Brazilian bishops’ conference criticized a proposal by the U.N. Human Rights Commission that countries allow abortion in cases in which the mother was infected with the Zika virus. • On Feb. 9 the Vatican named Natasa Govekar, a Slovenian theologian, as the director of a new theological-pastoral department within the Secretariat for Communications. • Pope Francis named Msgr. Peter B. Wells, a native of Tulsa, Okla., as the next papal nuncio to South Africa and Botswana on Feb. 9.

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